The Search For the Great Beginning

file000495818648I came across a post, “Ten Great Openings to Recent YA and MG Literature by Jim Woehrle” over at Nerdy Book Club and of course, I had to read it. I mean, great openings? I was hooked.

There is nothing in my writing that I spend as much time on as my opening. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post over at WOW!Women-on-Writing or one of my full-length manuscripts. I agonize over the beginning because…well, the beginning is almost everything.

The first line–or lines–must hook the reader. And those introductory words set the tone for all that follows. A good beginning is golden, and can make up for a multitude of messes that come later. But a bad beginning? There is no later with a sucky start.

Sometimes, when I’m stuck on the beginning, I’ll just start writing the meat of the post or story or book. The ending will often help me when I go back to write the beginning. But other times, I just can’t get anything right if I start out wrong.

And I can feel it in my writing bones when I’ve nailed a beginning. In fact, I’ve come up with a great first line with no idea for a story when suddenly, the story takes off. Just because of a great beginning.

So, I’ve read a couple of those books recommended by Jim Woehrle, and I’ll add a few of them to my To Be Read list, based solely on the beginning. And now, how about you?

Do you write your beginning last? First? Any tips on those 0h-so-important first lines? And what’s your recommendation for a great beginning? Because I often learn from reading, and besides, I just love a great beginning!